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Implications of Pseudologia Fantastica in Criminal Forensic Evaluations: A Review and Case Report

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Pseudologia fantastica, a psychological phenomenon that has been described in the literature for at least a century, is an understudied and poorly understood entity. Sometimes referred to as pathological lying, pseudologia fantastica involves disproportionate fabrication that may be present for many years or a lifetime. In a forensic context, it can significantly complicate the evaluation of capacity to stand trial and, in certain jurisdictions, criminal responsibility. We review the current literature regarding pseudologia fantastica and present a case to highlight the clinical and forensic challenges it may create. We specifically discuss the complications that pseudologia fantastica may have on the assessment of a defendant's rational ability to consult with an attorney, a required element of capacity to stand trial. In addition, we discuss the implications of pseudologia fantastica in the evaluation of criminal responsibility.
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Keywords: capacity to stand trial; criminal forensic evaluations; criminal responsibility; forensic science; pathological lying; pseudologia fantastica

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2018

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